SENATE BILL No. 117

 

 

February 21, 2019, Introduced by Senators JOHNSON, LUCIDO, HOLLIER, BULLOCK, BAYER, SANTANA, VICTORY, BUMSTEAD, MACDONALD, BARRETT, WOJNO, NESBITT,  LASATA, VANDERWALL, MCMORROW, OUTMAN, POLEHANKI, ZORN, DALEY and HORN and referred to the Committee on Elections.

 

 

 

     A bill to amend 1954 PA 116, entitled

 

"Michigan election law,"

 

by amending section 759a (MCL 168.759a), as amended by 2012 PA 523.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

     Sec. 759a. (1) An absent uniformed services voter or an

 

overseas voter who is not registered, but possessed the

 

qualifications of an elector under section 492, may apply for

 

registration by using the federal postcard application. The

 

department of state, bureau of elections, is responsible for

 

disseminating information on the procedures for registering and

 

voting to an absent uniformed services voter and an overseas voter.

 

     (2) Upon the request of an absent uniformed services voter or

 

an overseas voter, the clerk of a county, city, township, or

 

village shall electronically transmit a blank voter registration

 

application or blank absent voter ballot application to the voter.


The clerk of a county, city, township, or village shall accept a

 

completed voter registration application or completed absent voter

 

ballot application electronically transmitted by an absent

 

uniformed services voter or overseas voter. A voter registration

 

application or absent voter ballot application submitted by an

 

absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter shall must

 

contain the signature of the voter.

 

     (3) A spouse or dependent of an overseas voter who is a

 

citizen of the United States, is accompanying that overseas voter,

 

and is not a qualified and registered elector anywhere else in the

 

United States, may apply for an absent voter ballot even though the

 

spouse or dependent is not a qualified elector of a city or

 

township of this state.

 

     (4) An absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter,

 

whether or not registered to vote, may apply for an absent voter

 

ballot. Upon receipt of an application for an absent voter ballot

 

under this section that complies with this act, a county, city,

 

village, or township clerk shall forward to the applicant the

 

absent voter ballots requested, the forms necessary for

 

registration, and instructions for completing the forms. If the

 

ballots are not yet available at the time of receipt of the

 

application, the clerk shall immediately forward to the applicant

 

the registration forms and instructions, and forward the ballots as

 

soon as they are available. If a federal postcard application or an

 

application from the official United States department Department

 

of defense Defense website is filed, the clerk shall accept the

 

federal postcard application or the application from the official


United States department Department of defense Defense website as

 

the registration application and shall not send any additional

 

registration forms to the applicant. If the ballots and

 

registration forms are received before the close of the polls on

 

election day and if the registration complies with the requirements

 

of this act, the absent voter ballots shall must be delivered to

 

the proper election board to be tabulated. If the registration does

 

not comply with the requirements of this act, the clerk shall

 

retain the absent voter ballots until the expiration of the time

 

that the voted ballots must be kept and shall then destroy the

 

ballots without opening the envelope. The clerk may retain

 

registration forms completed under this section in a separate file.

 

The address in this state shown on a registration form is the

 

residence of the registrant.

 

     (5) Not later than 45 days before an election, a county, city,

 

township, or village clerk shall electronically transmit or mail as

 

appropriate an absent voter ballot to each absent uniformed

 

services voter or overseas voter who applied for an absent voter

 

ballot 45 days or more before the election.

 

     (6) Upon the request of an absent uniformed services voter or

 

overseas voter, the clerk of a county, city, township, or village

 

shall electronically transmit an absent voter ballot to the voter.

 

The Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the voter

 

shall print the absent voter ballot and return the voted ballot by

 

mail to the appropriate clerk. A member of a uniformed service on

 

active duty, by reason of being on active duty, or a member of the

 

merchant marine, by reason of service in the merchant marine, who


is absent on the date of an election from the place of residence

 

where the member is otherwise qualified to vote may, if using a

 

United States Department of Defense Common Access Card and a United

 

States military issued electronic mail address, return the voted

 

ballot electronically to the appropriate clerk.

 

     (7) The secretary of state shall prescribe electronic absent

 

voter ballot formats and electronic absent voter ballot

 

transmission methods. Each county, city, township, or village clerk

 

shall employ the prescribed electronic ballot formats to fulfill an

 

absent voter ballot request received from an absent uniformed

 

services voter or overseas voter who wishes to receive his or her

 

absent voter ballot through an electronic transmission. The

 

secretary of state shall establish procedures to implement the

 

requirements in this section and for the processing of a marked

 

absent voter ballot returned by an absent uniformed services voter

 

or overseas voter who obtained his or her absent voter ballot

 

through an electronic transmission.

 

     (8) The secretary of state shall modify the printed statement

 

provided under section 761(4) and the absent voter ballot

 

instructions provided under section 764a as appropriate to

 

accommodate the procedures developed for electronically

 

transmitting an absent voter ballot to an absent uniformed services

 

voter or overseas voter. A statement shall must be included in the

 

certificate signed by the absent voter who obtained his or her

 

absent voter ballot through an electronic transmission that the

 

secrecy of the absent voter ballot may be compromised during the

 

duplication process. The absent voter ballot instructions provided


to an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter shall must

 

include the proper procedures for returning the absent voter ballot

 

to the appropriate clerk.

 

     (9) The size of a precinct shall must not be determined by

 

registration forms completed under this section.

 

     (10) An absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter

 

who submits an absent voter ballot application is eligible to vote

 

as an absent voter in any local, state, or federal election

 

occurring in the calendar year in which the election is held for

 

that ballot requested if the absent voter ballot application is

 

received by the county, city, village, or township clerk not later

 

than 2 p.m. of the Saturday before the election. A county, city, or

 

township clerk receiving an absent voter ballot application from an

 

absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter shall transmit to

 

a village clerk and the school district election coordinators,

 

where applicable, the necessary information to enable the village

 

clerk and school district election coordinators to forward an

 

absent voter ballot for each applicable election in that calendar

 

year to the absent voter. A village clerk receiving an absent voter

 

ballot application from an absent uniformed services voter or

 

overseas voter shall transmit to the township clerk and the school

 

district election coordinators, where applicable, the necessary

 

information to enable the city or township clerk and school

 

district election coordinators to forward an absent voter ballot

 

for each applicable election in that calendar year to the absent

 

voter. If the local elections official rejects a voter registration

 

application or absent voter ballot application submitted by an


absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter, the election

 

official shall notify the voter of the rejection.

 

     (11) An electronic mail address provided by an absent

 

uniformed services voter or overseas voter for the purposes of this

 

section is confidential and exempt from disclosure under the

 

freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.

 

     (12) Under the uniformed and overseas citizens absentee voting

 

act, the state director of elections shall approve a ballot form

 

and registration procedures for absent uniformed services voters

 

and overseas voters.

 

     (13) An absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter

 

may use the federal write-in absentee ballot, in accordance with

 

the provisions of the uniformed and overseas citizens absentee

 

voting act, at a regular election or special election to vote for a

 

local, state, or federal office or on a ballot question. An Except

 

as otherwise provided in this subsection, an absent uniformed

 

services voter or an overseas voter who uses the federal write-in

 

absentee ballot shall return his or her voted federal write-in

 

absentee ballot by mail to the appropriate clerk. A member of a

 

uniformed service on active duty, by reason of being on active

 

duty, or a member of the merchant marine, by reason of service in

 

the merchant marine, who is absent on the date of an election from

 

the place of residence where the member is otherwise qualified to

 

vote may, if using a United States Department of Defense Common

 

Access Card and a United States military issued electronic mail

 

address, return the voted ballot electronically to the appropriate

 

clerk. The state bureau of elections shall do both of the


following:

 

     (a) Make the ballot format for each election available to

 

absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters by electronic

 

mail or on an internet website maintained by the department of

 

state.

 

     (b) Make the ballot information, including the offices, names

 

of candidates, and ballot proposals, for each election available to

 

absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters on an internet

 

website maintained by the department of state.

 

     (14) The clerk of a city, village, or township shall submit to

 

the county clerk of the county in which that city, village, or

 

township is located a written statement no later than 45 days

 

before each election indicating whether absent voter ballots were

 

issued to absent uniformed services voters or overseas voters in

 

compliance with this section and the uniformed and overseas

 

citizens absentee voting act. The city, village, or township clerk

 

shall provide to the county clerk a written explanation describing

 

remedial actions taken by the city, village, or township clerk if

 

the city, village, or township clerk fails to comply with this

 

section and the uniformed and overseas citizens absentee voting

 

act. Not later than 42 days before each election, each county clerk

 

shall submit to the state bureau of elections a written report

 

compiled from the written statements submitted by the city,

 

village, and township clerks. The written report shall must

 

identify the cities, villages, and townships that complied with the

 

45-day deadline under this subsection, the cities, villages, and

 

townships that did not comply with the 45-day deadline under this


subsection, but provided a written explanation, and those cities,

 

villages, and townships that did not comply with the 45-day

 

deadline under this subsection and that did not provide a written

 

explanation. The state bureau of elections may require the clerk of

 

a city, village, or township that did not comply with the 45-day

 

deadline under this subsection, but provided a written explanation,

 

to provide additional information. The state bureau of elections

 

shall require the clerk of a city, village, or township that did

 

not comply with the 45-day deadline and that did not provide a

 

written explanation to file a written explanation, describing the

 

remedial actions taken by the city, village, or township clerk,

 

within 1 business day after the state bureau of elections notifies

 

the clerk of that city, village, or township.

 

     (15) For a presidential primary election, the secretary of

 

state shall prescribe procedures for contacting an elector who is

 

an absent uniformed services voter or an overseas voter, as

 

described in this section, and who is eligible to receive an absent

 

voter ballot or who applies for an absent voter ballot for the

 

presidential primary election, offering the elector the opportunity

 

to select a political party ballot for the presidential primary

 

election.

 

     (16) The secretary of state shall order a city, village, or

 

township clerk to extend the ballot receipt deadline for any

 

absentee voter ballots under this section that were not transmitted

 

to an absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter in

 

compliance with subsection (5). The extension shall must equal the

 

total number of days beyond the deadline as provided in subsection


(5) that the city, village, or township clerk transmitted the

 

requested absentee voter ballots. These absentee voter ballots

 

received during the extension time shall must be counted and

 

tabulated for the final results of the election provided that the

 

absentee voter ballots are executed and sent by the close of the

 

polls on election day. The election may be formally certified

 

before the end of the extension time if the number of outstanding

 

absentee voter ballots under this subsection will not alter the

 

outcome of the election.

 

     (17) As used in this section:

 

     (a) "Absent uniformed services voter" means any of the

 

following:

 

     (i) A member of a uniformed service on active duty who, by

 

reason of being on active duty, is absent from the place of

 

residence where the member is otherwise qualified to vote.

 

     (ii) A member of the merchant marine who, by reason of service

 

in the merchant marine, is absent from the place of residence where

 

the member is otherwise qualified to vote.

 

     (iii) A spouse or dependent of a member referred to in

 

subparagraph (i) or (ii) who, by reason of the active duty or

 

service of the member, is absent from the place of residence where

 

the spouse or dependent is otherwise qualified to vote.

 

     (b) "Member of the merchant marine" means an individual, other

 

than a member of a uniformed service or an individual employed,

 

enrolled, or maintained on the Great Lakes or the inland waterways,

 

who is either of the following:

 

     (i) Employed as an officer or crew member of a vessel


documented under the laws of the United States, a vessel owned by

 

the United States, or a vessel of foreign-flag registry under

 

charter to or control of the United States.

 

     (ii) Enrolled with the United States for employment or

 

training for employment, or maintained by the United States for

 

emergency relief service, as an officer or crew member of a vessel

 

documented under the laws of the United States, a vessel owned by

 

the United States, or a vessel of foreign-flag registry under

 

charter to or control of the United States.

 

     (c) "Overseas voter" means any of the following:

 

     (i) An absent uniformed services voter who, by reason of

 

active duty or service, is absent from the United States on the

 

date of an election.

 

     (ii) A person who resides outside of the United States and is

 

qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was

 

domiciled before leaving the United States.

 

     (iii) A person who resides outside of the United States and

 

who, but for such residence outside of the United States, would be

 

qualified to vote in the last place in which he or she was

 

domiciled before leaving the United States.

 

     (d) "Uniformed services" means the army, navy, air force,

 

marine corps, coast guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or

 

Coast Guard, the commissioned corps Commissioned Corps of the

 

public health service, Public Health Service, the commissioned

 

corps Commissioned Corps of the national oceanic National Oceanic

 

and atmospheric administration, Atmospheric Administration, a

 

reserve component of a uniformed service, or the Michigan national


guard National Guard as that term is defined in section 105 of the

 

Michigan military act, 1967 PA 150, MCL 32.505.